Kyodo. Toyota Motor affirmed that it is continuing to develop fuel-cell units for home heating and power based on its automotive fuel-cell work. The automaker will work with Aisin Seiki Co. to launch home fuel-cell energy systems in the Japanese market around 2008.
Toyota began discussing the development of home fuel-cell-based systems in 2001. The company has already been cooperating with Toho Gas Co. to test a fuel-cell co-generation system in some houses in central Japan.
The Toyota system reforms natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or kerosene feedstocks to generate hydrogen, then uses a fuel cell to generate electricity.
Toyota is also planning to take part in government-subsidized fuel cell demonstration tests, in which many gas utilities and fuel cell makers will participate.
Tokyo Gas, for example, has teamed up with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. to initiate a fuel cell system leasing program last February in a bid to sell thousands of units of the system annually in and after fiscal 2008. (Earlier post.)
For home fuel cell systems to spread widely in Japan, the price would have to reach around ¥500,000 (US$4,100) with improved durability, according to Toyota. A present system costs more than 10 times the target price.
Honda is also developing home systems for hydrogen generation, heating and power. (Earlier post.)